JESUS TEACHES US TO PRAY
Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven
Congratulations! You’re starting your second week of pursuing a closer walk with Jesus. I trust you are learning to pray by praying. And I hope, as you pray, you are remembering what Jesus is teaching us here in Matthew 6.
Let’s review the pattern or template of prayer Jesus is teaching us. We begin praying without making any initial request. Instead we focus our thoughts on:
- The Person of God: Our Father
- The Place of God: In Heaven
- The Purity of God: Hallowed Be Your Name
Our hearts are filled as we contemplate the awesome might, character and love of the Lord. Then, as instructed, we make our first request:
- The Plan of God: Your Kingdom Come
Today Jesus leads us to a second request of God in prayer. After asking for God’s Plan – your kingdom come, Jesus instructs us to ask for the Purpose of God:
Matthew 6:10 … your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
We should pause and think hard about this request. Are we willing to honestly ask God for His will to be done? Or, are we lying to God when we pray for His will? Do we really want what God wants?
Although you may have prayed this request many times without thinking about it, the implications of asking God for His will to be done are huge. For instance, if I really want God’s will in my life, it means I have to stop lying. It means I have to stop getting drunk. It means I have to stop gossiping. I have to give up drugs. I can’t steal anymore. I have to stop cursing. I have to lay down my pride. I need to abandon all immorality. I need to humble myself. I need to pray without ceasing. I need to serve others. I need to love people – even my enemies. I need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit without grieving Him. I need to be true to my word. I need to do whatever the Lord tells me to do. Need I go on?
The things I just mentioned represent a small fraction of what God says He wants for our lives. If we are to honestly pray as Jesus is teaching us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are required to bring our whole lives under the spotlight of God’s truth in order to examine everything we say, think, and do. Here’s the challenge:
To honestly ask the Lord for His will requires the sacrifice of my will.
Jesus stated this exact idea many times: Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Denying ourselves means that we say, “No,” to what we want to do in life. We forsake our agendas to adopt His agenda. Following Jesus requires the surrender of our wills and the embracing of His will.
As we mature in Christ, the Lord will mold our wills. Eventually we will find ourselves wanting what Jesus wants (Ps. 37:4). But this happens only after total surrender to Him. Do we earnestly want God to answer our prayer about His will being done? If we don’t want to find ourselves lying to God, we better examine our hearts before we pray for His will.
Here are a few more things the New Testament has to say about God’s will:
- Doing the will of God is the only way to enter the kingdom of heaven:
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
- Doing the will of God allows us to be part of Jesus’ family:
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
- Doing the will of God applies to all decisions in life:
James 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
- Doing the will of God completely in every aspect of life is the example Jesus showed us:
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
- Doing the will of God opens our minds to understand God’s truth:
John 7:17 If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.
As we make our second request and ask God for His Purpose – His will to be done – honesty forces us to examine our hearts. Is our relationship with Jesus one of convenience? Are we following Him because we want a ticket to Heaven? Or, are we willing to lay down our lives before Him and honestly pray, “Your will be done?” Don’t pray it if you don’t mean it.
REVIEW: (circle all correct answers)
- Honestly praying for God’s will means:
- My actions need to line up with what God wants
- My thoughts need to be governed by what God wants
- My words are subject to what God wants
- My life decisions are surrendered to what God wants
- Every aspect of my life is to be under God’s direction and control
EXERCISE: Examine these verses about God’s will. How do they apply to your life?
Ephesians 5:17-18 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Romans 12:1-2
NEW HABITS DAILY PRAYER ALONE WITH THE LORD
If you have not disciplined yourself to make an appointment with Jesus each day, do so now. It’s critical to your growth.